Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Song of the Day: 'Girls Talk' by Linda Ronstadt


My Bonnie Tyler post yesterday got my friend Seth thinking about another musical phenomeonn -- where singers and bands with completely different personas and styles in different decades succeeding both times and their trademark songs (Heart and Pointer Sisters to start with?)?!?!" I loved the idea -- and Linda Ronstadt's New Wave album, 1980's "Mad Love" immediately came to mind, where she covered three Elvis Costellos songs, including this favorite of mine.


But Linda was in good company ...


Others from the era include Rosanne Cash -- whose hair matched her new-found cowpunk sound. (Not a coincidence that she and Maria McKee of Lone Justice both recorded "Never Be You," with the latter's winding up on the "Streets of Fire" soundtrack and the former's on Cash's crossover album "Rhyme & Reason," featuring her cover of John Hiatt's New Wave girl anthem "Pink Bedroom."


She's a punky princess in the video for "I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me."


Cash's stepsister Carlene Carter also rode the New Wave, with her synthy "C'est C Bon" LP. ("Third Time Charm" was yet another miss that sounded like a hit.) 

And the list of people New Wave happened to went on ... 


The best of all had to have been Cher, who pulled a Tori Spelling at an Aaron Spelling audition and formed a "punk band" without putting her name out front. Black Rose recorded one bomb album before disbanding.


But Cher is nothing if not persistent. Two years later she returned as herself, releasing  "I Paralyze" ... which pretty much summed up the record-buying public's reaction to the endeavor. 




Diana Ross, who had a more successful turn than Cher as a Disco Diva, had the New Wave sound down to pat on "Pieces of Ice," even if the video was more "Cats" than Clash ...


Carly Simon told us "Why," which was a smash in the U.K. when released as a single from the soundtrack for the sex comedy "Soup for One," but never got a U.S. release. This was strange given that her album from a year or two earlier, "Come Upstairs," had been a success with its synth-driven songs including "Jesse," which a pal refers to has a "sublime low-self-esteem anthem"!


By the time she released "Spoiled Girl" in 1985 -- at the height of the New Wave -- people had lost interest in her again. It didn't help that "Tired of Being Blonde" was inferior to "Why."


Chameleon Bette Midler -- who'd gone disco with 1979's "Thighs and Whispers" -- attempted to cash in on the New Wave with a cover Marshall Crenshaw's "My Favorite Waste of Time," which had been the B-side of his only Top 40 hit, "Someday, Someway." Fans weren't buying the Divine Miss M's latest makeover. 


Kim Carnes -- who started out more a country and folk singer -- was already (unwittingly?) riding the Blondie bandwagon when "Bette Davis Eyes" topped the charts in '81. But her "Voyeur" followup was a full-blown attempt at New Wave ... 


And then there was Sheena Easton, who wound up singing the James Bond theme when Blondie backed out -- they'd written their own and weren't interested in doing a Bill Conti song -- reached maximum New Waveness with "Swear." It stalled at No. 80. Turns out fans were much more interested in her being a nymph than a New Waver ...

4 comments:

B said...

Thanks for this post! Such a blast to go through all of these!

Dave in Texas said...

Thanks Kenneth- great post! You could add Melissa Manchester "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" as it was 'edgier' than her usual releases.

Claude Remains said...

Fabulous!! It always intrigues me that this was referred to as New Wave in America as in the UK it wasn't given any such moniker.

James Sanford said...

Kim Carnes' VOYEUR is a stunning album that should have been a much bigger hit. Those chilled-out synthesizers and that raw, husky voice -- not to mention the METROPOLIS-inspired cover art!

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